[Harp-L] tongue blocking basics

Winslow Yerxa winslowyerxa@xxxxx
Wed Jan 11 22:25:34 EST 2017

You can switch to the left side, stay on the right side, or pucker - players do all three.

If you stay on the right side, you can bring your lips and tongue together gently to seal up the area vacated by the harmonica. Just make sure you son't angle the left end of the harp so that it pokes inside your mouth when you start to move back to the higher holes.

If you switch to the left, you can use rapid left-right switching to make smooth, quick leaps of several holes (this technique is called corner switching). Just make sure you have a way to get back to the right side when (if) you need to, though of course you can learn to play the entire harp out of the left side if you want to.

You can switch to a pucker (I use this term simply to refer to playing with your tongue off the harp), and this can enable certain techniques that require having the tip of your tongue off the harp, such as the diddle-iddle-iddle type of rapid repeated note.

 Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.com
Instructor, Jazzschool Community Music School
President emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Ketay <steve.ketay at xxxxx>
To: harp-l at xxxxx
Sent: Monday, January 9, 2017 7:07 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] tongue blocking basics

I have just started teaching myself how to tongue block, and I was
wondering if I could get some advice regarding what to do on the low end.
I am assuming that I should be using the left side of my mouth for holes
1-3, and then switching over to the right for 4-10.  I'm sure it's really a
matter of horses for courses, but I would really appreciate any insight or
tips that are offered.

Thanks in advance,


52 Spring Street
NH 03766

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